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David Brooks on Mitt Romney

Former governor Mitt Romney won the Michigan Primary, and it seems he did it the old fashioned political way, not by showing any leadership or vision, but rather by showering other people’s money at the voters. This earned him the scorn of David Brooks in, of all places, the New York Times. The money quote was pure snark.

His campaign was a reminder of how far corporate Republicans are from free market Republicans. He proposed $20 billion in new federal spending on research. He insisted that Washington had to get fully engaged in restoring the United States automotive industry. “Detroit can only thrive if Washington is an engaged partner,” he said, “not a disinterested observer.” He vowed, “If I’m president of this country, I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I’m in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America’s automotive leadership.”

This is how the British Tory party used to speak in the 1970s.

Who should be more ashamed of themselves- Mitt Romney for pandering or Michigan primary voters for swallowing this claptrap?

45 comments to David Brooks on Mitt Romney

  • Ian B

    I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I’m in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America’s automotive leadership.”

    Same spiel as you’d have heard from Hoover or Roosevelt. Or any president since, pretty much, come to that. It’s just standard American corporate socialism, or fluffy fascism, or whatever you want to call it.

  • John K

    Fascism is indeed the word. It’s odd really, it’s the ism which dare not speak its name, but it’s the ism which prevails in almost every state in the world.

  • R C Dean

    “Detroit can only thrive if Washington is an engaged partner,” he said, “not a disinterested observer.”

    I’d say he got that the wrong way around.

    Via the National Labor Relations Board, Washington is already an engaged partner, and its involvement is the very root of Detroit’s problems.

    Why, after all, are auto plants being built all over the US by foreign automakers, but none in Detroit? Could it possibly be the union hegemony in Michigan?

  • Same spiel as you’d have heard from Hoover or Roosevelt.

    Among Republican presidents, it reminds me most of Nixon, “America’s Teddy Heath.” I think the analogy with 1970s Conservatives is apt. They were Labour only “less so,” with the “less so” being either “less honest” or “less competent at running a welfare state.” The Republicans these days strike me the same way. You hear healthcare plans from them that are supposedly “free market” plans, but what they actually are is a requirement to own health insurance backed up by a subsidy for anyone who claims he can’t afford it. All of which makes me wonder if maybe Republican healthcare won’t just be a more bloated, more expensive, less accountable version of the Democrats’ in the end. Ditto social security. They want to save it, but not by cutting any spending or raising any taxes. Which is nothing but a deferral of payment on the part of people who are to receive it soon at the expense of people like me, who will likely never get it. It’s even less fair than the way the Democrats propose to handle it. (Ron Paul has an intelligent suggestion on the matter, but of course he’s “nuts” so by all means ignore him.) The Republicans are Democrats only “less so;” sometimes there’s something to be said for being upfront about your Socialism.

  • Midwesterner

    David Brooks hits exactly to the fundamental problem with Romney. Discussing Romney, et al effects me in much the same way discussing Ron Paul appears to effect Sunfish. But without any upside. I can’t even hold my nose and vote for him. To avoid going through it again, I’ll just point to this thread. It was part of my rather vehement insistence on why I will vote for a Democrat before I will vote for Romney (or McCain, Huckabee or Giuliani). The key comments run from January 14, 2008 02:34 AM to January 14, 2008 08:37 PM. , I quoted Perry in another thread quoting Virginia Postrel-

    have you ever seen Virginia Postrel’s description of dynamist and stasis?

    “Stasists and dynamists disagree about the limits and use of knowledge. Stasists demand that knowledge be articulated and easily shared. Dynamists, by contrast, appreciate dispersed, often tacit knowledge…Those conflicts lead to very different beliefs about good institutions and rules: Stasists seek specifics to govern each new situation and keep things under control. Dynamists want to limit universal rule making to broadly applicable and rarely changed principles, within which people can create and test countless combinations.”

    Romney is a stasist. Fred Thompson is a dynamist. Even if Romeny were to, or is, adopting dynamism it is the act of a stasist. Romney will will think of a thousand different solutions to carefully articulated problems. Thompson won’t think of any.

    I will vote to put the Republicans in congress into opposition to big government. And if the only way to do that is to elect a Democratic president, then that is a better alternative than a big government Republican in the Whitehouse.

  • R C Dean

    I will vote to put the Republicans in congress into opposition to big government. And if the only way to do that is to elect a Democratic president, then that is a better alternative than a big government Republican in the Whitehouse.

    I agree with this up to a point, and that point is judicial appointments and (possibly) foreign policy.

    I am very much afraid of who a Dem would stock the courts with.

    I am also not a big fan of the foreign policy prescriptions of one Mr. Obama, who strikes me as a naive transnational progressive. As to Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy, I suspect it would be more of her husband’s benign neglect. I would like to believe that she would be a more muscular practitioner of the forward defense strategy, but that doesn’t focus group well among her core constituents, so I doubt it will happen.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Midwesterner:

    Romney is a stasist. Fred Thompson is a dynamist. Even if Romeny were to, or is, adopting dynamism it is the act of a stasist. Romney will will think of a thousand different solutions to carefully articulated problems. Thompson won’t think of any.

    Unless, of course, the carefully articulated problem is how best to imprison foreigners and deny them due process whilst tricking the Supreme Court with some legalistic defence; how to justify simulated drowning in a country in which “cruel and unusual punishments” is explicitly forbidden; how to perpetuate the tyrannical war on individual liberty, aka the war on drugs; how to legally forbid the burning of cloth upon which a likeness of the US flag is imprinted, regardless of its rightful owner; and, of course, renewing that typically small-government document, the USA PATRIOT Act, for which Thompson voted in 2001.

    Thompson may be a federalist on some issues, but his defence, for instance, of Guatanamo Bay is incompatible with any civil libertarian position. Put simply, if Thompson believes that “our basic rights come from God, not from government,” then they must extend to all people, not just those with an American passport: and if he is willing to deploy extra-judicial internment on “unlawful enemy combatants” despite their God-given liberty, what logical resistance is there to using it against the American people? – as though the present situation were not sufficiently unacceptable.

    To be fair, Thompson is more economically libertarian than Guiliani, McCain, Romney and Huckabee. But as far as statism, never mind stasism, goes, Thompson has acquiesced in and endorsed the efforts of the present regime to trample on the Constitutional restrictions on the role of the government. He is an unsuitable candidate for this reason alone: anybody who will permits the continued growth of the state in any sphere should be repudiated. Much is said – with which I agree – about the efforts of socialists to demarcate liberties into economic and social, casting away one whilst clinging onto the other. Authoritarian conservatives make the same qualitative mistake, albeit the opposite one of the left. When there exists a candidate who denies this dichotomy, who states, unequivocally,

    … that America is a republic, not a democracy, … that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule. We must resist any use of the word “freedom” to describe state action. We must reject the current meaningless designations of “liberals” and “conservatives,” in favor of an accurate term for both: statists.

    and who most closely represents the anti-thesis of this statism, it is not credible to support over him a conservative-authoritarian political animal in the name of liberty.

    You may think Thompson popular, and his flaws, as egregious and intolerable as they should be to libertarians, excusable, since he is, after all, one of the candidates determined by the media to be ‘electable.’ Carl Cameron didn’t poke fun at Thompson by asking him – “electability; do you have any, sir?” – but the primary voters seem to think that perhaps he should have. After all, Paul is currently in fourth in the cumulative Republican votes – the real determinant of the party’s feeling, not Luntz’s focus groups – and Thompson is 35,000 votes behind, in 6th. Time, methinks, for libertarian-conservatives supporting Thompson to jettison a sinking ship and rationally support the more electable small government conservative – RP.

  • Sorry: still haven’t worked out Brooks’s punch-line:

    This is how the British Tory party used to speak in the 1970s.

    Which Tory Party?

    The free-marketeers after the January 1970 Selsdon conference?

    The Heath Government which stoked up by indexing wages and while shovelling moolah at welfare spending?

    The early days of “Thatcherism” (actually the Friedmanite policies espoused by Keith Joseph)?

    Can someone advise?

  • Midwesterner

    RC Dean,

    I’ve thought of that and I decided the way I did based on two things. One, except for Scalia, the age of the court is heavily skewed towards young conservatives and older liberals. We probably will not lose much if any votes. And if we get a Republican majority back in the Senate, or even enough Dixiecrats, that will be substantial protection against anyone who cannot swear an oath that requires them to discharge their duties “agreeably to the Constitution.” And as far as I am concerned, anybody who believes in a ‘living constitution’ is not capable of keeping that oath and it is right and proper for the Senate to reject their nomination.

  • Midwesterner

    Andrew Roocroft,

    If it is your intention to convert me into a Ron Paul believer, not a candle’s chance in a hurricane. The more I learn about him the more I would work to keep him out of the White House if he actually stood a chance.

    Ron Paul has the presidential skills of Jimmy Carter and his foreign policy isn’t much different either.

  • Midwesterner

    Oops. Sometimes, Wikipedia is my friend. I looked up Dixiecrat and find that I really mean is the Blue Dog(?) Democrats. I guess I’ve been watching too much MSM.

    Ouch.

  • Alice

    Inexplicably, Andrew Roocroft wrote:

    Unless, of course, the carefully articulated problem is how best to imprison foreigners and deny them due process …

    I missed the part in the US Constitution that gives due process rights to foreign enemies engaged in offensive action against the US whilst pretending to be civilians.

    Unless by “due process” you meant a bullet to the back of the head .

    The kind of people who tend to get excited about the “rights” of terrorists tend to be well-protected limp-wristed liberals, Mr. Roocroft. If that hat fits, wear it with pride. And if it does not fit, ask yourself where you went wrong.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Midwesterner:

    If it is your intention to convert me into a Ron Paul believer, not a candle’s chance in a hurricane. The more I learn about him the more I would work to keep him out of the White House if he actually stood a chance.

    I don’t mind if you support Paul or not. Indeed, I think there’s a very principled libertarian position for refusing to endorse Paul on the grounds of his immigration policy and his refusal to immediately suspend social security. I assume that you when you refer to “the more I learn about him,” you mean the recent ‘expose’ on the Ron Paul Newsletter. Of course, you can ignore the fact that he neither wrote nor approved it, so, despite his incompetence in this regard, doesn’t share those views, and has actually scheduled (prior to this announcement) a fundraising day on Martin Luther King holiday, far from repudiating his legacy (parts of the Civil Rights Act, perhaps).

    In contrast to Thompson’s clear failings – leaving foreign policy to one side – on the civil liberties of Americans, I think Paul’s oversight fades into insignificance. Thompson supports the existence of Guantanamo Bay. Can you perhaps tell me, if you also support the existence of extra-judicial prisons with indefinite sentences for no proven crime (even worse, then, than the Stalinist or McCarthyite show-trials – at least there was some attempt to appear as though justice was being carried out), what is to stop me or any other British visitor to Samizdata from undergoing the same punishment? Merely the fact that I’ve not committed, nor am planning to commit, a terrorist act is insufficient, since a) there’s no judicial oversight, so I can’t challenge my kidnapping and b) it may be, under the bizarre logic of the authoritarian right, that I’ve just hidden my evidence so well that you can’t be sure, and should arrest me just in case.

    So – supports a legal system which is based essentially on permanent international martial law – against – failed to check a publication that bore his name on the banner. If you don’t like him, don’t support Paul. But please don’t support Thompson, if you believe in man’s unalienable right to liberty.

    Alice:

    I missed the part in the US Constitution that gives due process rights to foreign enemies engaged in offensive action against the US whilst pretending to be civilians.

    Umm, this part:

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury… nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

    You’ll notice that it says “no person.” It means, “no person,” citizen or non-citizen. Indeed, the applicability of the Fifth Amendment to non-citizens was confirmed in the 1896 Supreme Court Case 163 U.S. 228 Wing Wong vs U.S., in which the court ruled;

    …that this section [of a law allowing officials to detain illegal aliens and subject them to hard labour without trial] is invalid because it conflicts with the fifth amendment of the constitution, which declares that ‘no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, … nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,’ and also conflicts with the sixth amendment of the constitution, which provides that, ‘in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.’

    It does not follow that, because the government may expel aliens or exclude them from coming to this country, it can confine them at hard labor in a penitentiary before deportment, or subject them to any harsh and cruel punishment. If the improsonment of a human being at hard labor in a penitentiary for any misconduct or offense is not punishment, it is difficult to understand how anything short of the infliction of the death penalty for such misconduct or offense is punishment. It would seem to be not only punishment, but punishment infamous in its character, which, under the provisions of the constitution of the United States, can only be inflicted upon a person after his due conviction of crime, pursuant to the forms and provisions of law.

    Given that I’m arguing on the basis of 800 years legal tradition, suspended very briefly (and unjustly) during the Civil War and WWII, I’m pretty sure that I’m on solid ground in thinking that kidnapping people, extraditing them to a secret military prison camp and employing what is undeniably “cruel and unusual” methods of interrogation for their “crime” is not in accordance with the US Constitution. To think otherwise is either doublethink, or not to think at all.

    I’m not sure what nationality you are, Alice. So, if the US military can take it upon themselves to arrest anybody who isn’t a US citizen – without having to get the approval of an independent judge of probable cause for a crime believed to have been committed (or preparing to be committed) inside the territory of the United States – then nobody, including me, has protection from the arbitrary whim of the state. If you are sufficiently certain to call somebody a terrorist, that is, that they are planning to or have committed a violent act on US soil in order to influence the US public, then you must have sufficient evidence to prosecute them under existing criminal laws (conspiracy to commit crime, murder, &c). Otherwise, if you just arbitrarily allocate the label ‘terrorist’ to anybody without reasonable proof of that title overseen by a judge and refuse them access to a speedy trial in front of a jury, (that, is, you deny somebody due process) then the system of checks and balances is finished. If a president can dictate that the US army can arrest anybody and send them to Guantamo Bay (or any of the multiple prison camps throughout US allied states, such as Libya, Uzbekistan, Algeria &c), then where is the individual’s protection from the whim of the state? The trend to fascist totalitarianism is always accompanied by intellectuals who insist that freedom and individual liberty is out-moded or unworkable. Those who compromise – insisting, for instance, on economic but not civil liberties – are only delaying their inevitable suppression.

    The kind of people who tend to get excited about the “rights” of terrorists tend to be well-protected limp-wristed liberals, Mr. Roocroft. If that hat fits, wear it with pride. And if it does not fit, ask yourself where you went wrong.

    I can think, here, of no better rebuttal than that offered in A Man For All Seasons to an argument not dissimilar to the one you advocate. To that end, I quote it, verbatim:

    Lady Alice More: Arrest him!
    St Thomas More: For what?
    Lady Alice More: He’s dangerous!
    William Roper: For all we know, he’s a spy!
    Margaret More: Father, that man’s bad!
    St Thomas More: There’s no law against that.
    William Roper: There is – God’s law!
    St Thomas More: Then let God arrest him.
    Lady Alice More: While you talk he’s gone!
    St Thomas More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law.
    William Roper: So now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
    St Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    St Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down – and you’re just the man to do it! – do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

    I don’t suspect that St Thomas More was a “well-protected limp-wristed liberal.” I know he was an uncompromising defender of freedom, who refused to be cowed by the authoritarian instructions of the state. A little courage in the face of authority, instead of constant subservience, is a far nobler and more desirable human trend than unquestioning obedience. Or, at least I think so.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Roocroft – did you miss 9/11?

    This is not a law and order problem – this is war with people who interepret Islam to mean that all non Muslims and moderate Muslims should be exterminated or enslaved.

    They are not going to be impressed by you going after them with a warrent and putting them on trail so that George Soros (or some other mega rich person with no common sense) can pay to have them let out to continue their war.

    For your information even people who have been let out of Gitmo by the military have been found on the battle field again.

    There was no right to go to court and get let out for enemies caught duing World War II.

    And during the Civil War BOTH sides did not have the rights for enemy fighters that you claim Ron Paul supports.

    Even though the fighters were American citizens.

    Also the enemy today do not tend to wear uniforms – so under the Geneva Convention they can not only be sent to Gitmo, they could just be shot or hanged.

    Did you not know that?

  • Paul Marks

    “Mitt” Romney is not a Fascist (although, yes, the Cato Institute claims he is), but he is a useless waste of space who promises everything to everybody.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Mr Marks:

    This is not a law and order problem – this is war with people who interepret Islam to mean that all non Muslims and moderate Muslims should be exterminated or enslaved.

    Do you think that the violent actions of the Ku Klux Klan were a law and order problem, or one that necessitated the widescale imprisonment of any person associated with the movement because of their racial beliefs? If the latter – which I think you must hold to be consistent, since the KKK believed that all blacks should be “exterminated or enslaved,” the same criterion by which you propound Islamic radicals be sent to Guantanamo Bay – then you seem to be advocating the extra-judicial arrest of between 4 and 5 million people, the vast majority of whom had committed no crime other than freedom of association. It seems to me unnecessary to labour the absurd implications of the internment policies which are implicit in the existence of military prisons.

    Mr Roocroft – did you miss 9/11?

    9/11 was carried out by 19 men, assisted by a small group of radical Jihadists. The correct approach would have been to apprehend those men and bring them to justice, through the issuance of Letters of Marque and Reprisal. I have been the subject of scorn when I suggested this elsewhere: it seems to me that any other policy mistakenly overestimated the size and strength of Al Qaeda and other such related organisations. To ‘declare war’ upon them is a hysterical over-reaction (upon whom have you declared war? how will we judge whether the war has ended?), and, I would argue, the culture of total and necessarily interminable war is beneficial to a government whose primary objective is not, as it should be, to “preserve and defend the Constitution,” but one which intends to trample on the strict restrictions of the Constitution to ‘protect the homeland,’ which sounds like a Soviet wartime propaganda broadcast.

    They are not going to be impressed by you going after them with a warrent and putting them on trail so that George Soros (or some other mega rich person with no common sense) can pay to have them let out to continue their war.

    It is an intensely conspiratorial mindset that believes George Soros deliberately endows terrorist organisations with financial assistance because he is so left-wing. It is, as is the entirety of your argument, a hysterical overreaction.

    For your information even people who have been let out of Gitmo by the military have been found on the battle field again.

    So people for whom there is inadequate evidence of a crime should be incarcerated indefinitely? It seems, indeed, to be the policy endorsed by President Bush, who can continue the incarceration even of people who’ve been found innocent. Talk about 1984.

    I set out above, in response to Midwesterner, a question: what is to stop me, or you, from being the victims of this policy, which violates centuries of liberty? Answer: nothing. Destroying the rule of law because you’re scared won’t make you safe – it just makes you more vulnerable to the predations of the government as well as the terrorists.

    I’d also like to point out that the use of the word ‘battlefield’ is nonsensical. I assume this is obvious and doesn’t need explication.

    There was no right to go to court and get let out for enemies caught duing World War II.

    And during the Civil War BOTH sides did not have the rights for enemy fighters that you claim Ron Paul supports.

    Even though the fighters were American citizens.

    So? The two Presidents who performed these acts should have been impeached for precisely these unconstitutional acts. Nevertheless, let me try to argue historically from this point, since you seem to be closed to abstract argument.

    Do you know anything about Clement Vallandigham? He was a Congressman from Ohio who believed that the US Constitution should be preserved in its entirety and interpreted strictly, that the federal government was unconstitutional in its suspension of civil liberties and that the South had a right, according to the US constitution, to secede. In particular, he believed:-
    “No matter how distasteful constitutions and laws may be, they must be obeyed. I am opposed to all mobs, and opposed also… to all violations of the Constitution and laws by men in authority – public servants. The danger from usurpations and violations by them in fifty-fold greater than from any other quarter, because these violations come clothed with a false semblance of authority” (Sound familiar?)

    Under Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, this political dissident was arrested on 5th May 1863 by General Burnside and Union troops, transported to a military prison and denied access to counsel, all on the basis of ‘wartime national security.’ He was tried before a military commission (sound familiar?), sentenced to life imprisonment and then at Lincoln’s arbitrary will, expelled to the Confederacy. On the Vallandigham case, Governor Horatio Seymour of New York wrote to Vallandigham’s Ohio supporters;

    Having given [the Lincoln administration] a generous support in the conduct of the war, we pause to see what kind of a government it is for which we are asked to pour out our blood and our treasure. The action of the Administration will determine… whether this war is waged to put down rebellion in the South, or to destroy free institutions in the North.

    I think that all lovers of freedom should pause to see what kind of a government it is for which they are asked to pour out blood and treasure; is it for a government whose end is to tackle the relatively small scale problem of Islamic terrorism, or ‘to destroy free institutions’ in the United States? You could be forgiven for thinking the former.

    Might I recommend pages 27-45 of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s (a Fox News commentator and New Jersey federal judge) new book ‘A Nation of Sheep,’ for plenteous examples of the violation of natural rights by governments during wartime. They were plainly unconstitutional.

    I’ll deal briefly with the FDR-internment issue which you also bring up, by noting that, in 1988, President Reagan signed a bill declaring the wholesale internment of Japanese-Americans as “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” And one of the intents of the bill? “To inform the public about the internment so as to prevent the recurrence of any similar event.” That in a time of substantially less danger than WWII you think informing people about the internment is a tactic for increasing the likelihood of its reoccurence is the mark of an authoritarian with “war hysteria.”

    Also the enemy today do not tend to wear uniforms – so under the Geneva Convention they can not only be sent to Gitmo, they could just be shot or hanged.

    Did you not know that?

    Yes. Does it make it right? No – because very few people at Guantanamo Bay can be proven to have committed a crime, else they would’ve been tried.

    Tell me; if they are no restrictions on whom the military can seize, no judicial oversight to ensure that a crime has been committed, and no manner of conducting trials publicly according to the standards of Western justice, how is this any different to the SS police courts? Or the Stalinist show trials? Or the Gulags?

    Please answer this question, instead of ranting on about “the post 9/11 world” and the need to balance liberty and security. And apologies for the length of this reply, but your short rebuttals were just too tempting not to expose as being the empty rhetoric of totalitarianism.

  • Why stop with automobiles? Let’s go to the Amish country and revive the buggy-whip industry!

  • James Waterton

    Crikey! It’s the ghost of Euan Gray (in terms of length, not content).

  • Ian B

    Andrew-

    The trend to fascist totalitarianism is always accompanied by intellectuals who insist that freedom and individual liberty is out-moded or unworkable. Those who compromise – insisting, for instance, on economic but not civil liberties – are only delaying their inevitable suppression.

    Eloquently expressed. Thanks.

  • Sunfish

    David Brooks hits exactly to the fundamental problem with Romney. Discussing Romney, et al effects me in much the same way discussing Ron Paul appears to effect Sunfish.

    There’s one critical exception that I can tell. In the middle of a thread on a blog whose discussion is entirely about policing in a certain major American city, in a thread referring to an ongoing corruption issue with a local politician, Mitt Romney’s fan club[1] won’t try to change the subject to how Romney is the sole hope of the Republic. Nor do they appear to stuff online ballot boxes, at least not competently or effectively.

    Painfully, I have to go with Andrew on the question of Guantanamo, at least to some extent. The argument that US personnel should follow US law restricting their conduct towards foreign nationals taken in combat in a foreign land, and especially foreign nationals who fired on US personnel when not meeting the conditions identified in the Geneva Conventions to be considered a legitimate military body…you’re right that it’s BS and that there was no real obligation to even accept their surrender and every legal right to shoot them summarily.

    That is, if you accept the Administration’s word that everyone held in US custody was actually captured under those conditions. After the raw stunt that the Administration tried to pull with Jose Padilla, I would be badly skeptical of any claims that “they’re not entitled to access to the courts to rule on the legality of their detention. There’s nobody here but terrorists.”

    True, at some point everyone needs to trust someone. However, trusting a stranger to do the right thing according to his training with two seconds to think about it is one thing. Trusting someone to make a correct decision about people’s lives, when that someone has plenty of time to think, is another. When that person refuses to allow someone else to review his decisions, I think it becomes fair to have a problem with letting him have that power.

    [1] What’s there about him to attract fanaticism? He made a bunch of money, moved far enough left to win a statewide race in Taxachusetts, and changed his story again?

  • Midwesterner

    Here’s a hint, Andrew Roocroft. I compared Ron Paul to Jimmy Carter, not David Duke. I’m one of the few non-Paulites left that thinks Ron Paul might be nice but dumb, and not a devious racist. I think Ron Paul is utterly incapable of even beginning to achieve anything he sets out to do in Washington. And as for his foreign policy, that would be a good thing.

    Ron Paul would catastrophically fail in his domestic efforts and this year we have the best hope since Goldwater for actually reducing government running. Frankly I think if Ron Paul actually got to the White House and tried anything, the messed up failure would be so bad that nobody would ever want to risk rolling back government again.

    On Guantanamo, yes, I caught that statement by Fred and I disagree with it. There are other things in his record that I also disagree with. What is unique that I agree with is his principle of constitutionalism and the limited government that our’s mandates. Only Ron Paul and Fred Thompson (of the detectable candidates) support this. And I’ve already said what I think of Ron Paul and the kind of people he would bring to the White House.

    My opinion on not just Guantanamo but all people on the planet is that everybody is entitled to either POW status or habeas corpus. My opinion on executive accountability is that nothing done in the name of or with the resources of the taxpayers and voters of America falls beyond the reach of the Supreme Court. The President and the Senate (with SCOTUS for a referee to enforce the constitution) establish treatment of POWs and habeas corpus protects the rest.

    Sunfish,

    There may not be nearly as many Mittites, and they may be more tactically savvy, but they do exist. The are of the ‘only he can win and he really is a conservative just listen to what he says he stands for’ flavor of pragmatic. But you are right, they are not nearly as obnoxious as the Paulites.

  • Alice

    Andrew Roocroft:

    The correct approach would have been to apprehend those men and bring them to justice, through the issuance of Letters of Marque and Reprisal. I have been the subject of scorn when I suggested this elsewhere …

    Subject of scorn, indeed. For obvious reasons. How someone can twist the Constitution to give rights to terrorists, and then say the answer is to “legalize” a particular type of criminality …? Amazing!

    Let’s say that the Spanish government issues Letters of Marque against the terrorist network that bombed Madrid. But the terrorists don’t want to be “apprehended”. The terrorists are cornered in London by Spaniards using that Letter of Marque and start a gun fight in which Andrew Roocroft’s family gets wiped out in the crossfire. Then the British government issues a Letter of Marque against the Spaniards with the Letter of Marque …. And this is the world Mr. Roocroft wants to live in?

    Mid:

    … nothing done in the name of or with the resources of the taxpayers and voters of America falls beyond the reach of the Supreme Court.

    So the soldier that shots an enemy during a battle can eventually find himself in front of the Supreme Court? You don’t really mean “nothing done …”, Mid.

    What you both don’t seem to realize is the truth of Mao’s dictum — All power proceeds out the barrel of a gun. The law itself protects no-one. What protects people is the willingness of brave men & women to stand up and enforce the law, using violence where regrettably necessary.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Alice:

    Subject of scorn, indeed. For obvious reasons. How someone can twist the Constitution to give rights to terrorists, and then say the answer is to “legalize” a particular type of criminality …? Amazing!

    It would require an extraordinary suspension of disbelief to read my last post as implying anything of that nature. Did you even read it? Firstly, I am 100% certain, even though you used quotation marks, that I didn’t use the word “legalize” – had I done, I would have spelt it correctly. Nevertheless, I don’t believe in ‘legalising’ terrorist actions – I believe in treating them, precisely as you describe them; “a particular type of criminality.” Not the type that necessitates military occupation of all Islamic countries that refuse to kowtow to US instruction.

    As I’ve explained above, you cannot be sure that the people in Guantanamo Bay are terrorists, unless you have an independent judge and a jury, and unless the suspected terrorist is informed of the laws which he has violated and is permitted to see the evidence that will be brought against him. As expressed by Sunfish, “When that person [the US government] refuses to allow someone else to review his decisions, I think it becomes fair to have a problem with letting him have that power.” The US Constitution must be ‘twisted’ to deny this right – it explicitly states (which I see you’ve decided to ignore) that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury… nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It doesn’t matter whether you think this should apply in the case of ‘terrorists': it must, to accord with the constitution. So long as the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution is effective, the present policy of detaining people without judicial review, without proof of criminal behaviour, and without proving probable cause is totally unconstitutional.

    Let’s say that the Spanish government issues Letters of Marque against the terrorist network that bombed Madrid. But the terrorists don’t want to be “apprehended”. The terrorists are cornered in London by Spaniards using that Letter of Marque and start a gun fight in which Andrew Roocroft’s family gets wiped out in the crossfire. Then the British government issues a Letter of Marque against the Spaniards with the Letter of Marque …. And this is the world Mr. Roocroft wants to live in?

    I’m afraid I don’t understand your argument, so perhaps I wasn’t especially clear about what a Letter of Marque and Reprisal is. If you’re trying to argue that they somehow lead to increased international volatilty, you’re wrong. They are explicitly designed to prevent war with foreign nations when the nation itself has not committed the act, and to avoid entangling a government into the unconditional defence of its citizen’s criminal actions abroad.

    The US Constitution enumerates two key powers of the Congress in this regard: to issue letters of marque and reprisal, and to declare war. Now, a declaration of war is designed to be against another state. A letter of marque and reprisal is designed to authorise a private contractor, upon the President’s request, to capture the specific people responsible for a specific crime when they are outside of the United States and not affiliated to a government. Several hundred thousand troops are not required to capture a handful of terrorists and, if they resist, to kill them. Nor, clearly, are they an efficacious solution to the problem, if history is anything to go by. To the contrary, letters of marque and reprisal have been used successfully to target non-state criminals, from pirates to their modern day counterparts, Islamic terrorists.

    Midwesterner:

    On Guantanamo, yes, I caught that statement by Fred and I disagree with it. There are other things in his record that I also disagree with. What is unique that I agree with is his principle of constitutionalism and the limited government that our’s mandates.

    My point is that FT doesn’t stand for strict constitutionalism, or else he couldn’t be in favour of Guantanamo Bay.

    this year we have the best hope since Goldwater for actually reducing government running.

    I agree, but obviously for a different reason. I think that, examining the actual results so far, Paul has received 84,554 and Thompson 49,198 votes. Paul is in fourth, Thompson in sixth. To come from sixth – even after Fred’s traditional conservative pitch in the Fox debate against Huckabee – is never going to happen. Thompson is just as unlikely to become President as Paul; because traditional libertarian-conservative economic ideas are not populist ones. The original post complains precisely about the universal promises for bigger government from all the Republicans save Thompson and Paul. Accepting this reality, if Paul can stop Romney, Huckabee or McCain from winning the election as the Republican nomination by running as an independent (with, especially if Hillary is the nominee, a decent chance at grabbing some anti-war left votes), then he’ll have a much bigger impact than Thompson possibly could in compelling the GOP to preach smaller government, and, with a Democrat in the White House, a much better chance of instilling partisanship against Clinton, just as after 94.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    (Apologies, missed a slash on the closing < blockquote > tags)

  • Andrew… I fixed your blockquote… but please, either set up your own blog and then link back to it where we can read your erudite essays (a good idea anyway, it is not like you are short of things to say), or…when commenting less is often more!!! Just a suggestion.

  • REN

    What the hell is wrong with you guys!? Government meddling is part of why the auto industry is failing in America, and Romney absolutely knows that! Romney’s promises to Michigan is to help disassemble much of the roadblocks and help encourage American innovation and production.

    Now, why do you think the NY Times, the American populist paper, would write something scathing about a seemingly “populist” idea? Government “helping” a struggling industry?

    Because it’s not true, that’s why, the NY Times and the media are TRYING to show Romney as not being a “conservative” so that he will not the the Republican nomination. That’s my best understanding of the situation. Also, it is easy to pick on the auto-industry which is tied directly to the gas-guzzling culture that the liberal Democrats hate, while still using.

    Romney is a very smart venture capitalist, and a great businessman, who is not going to revive the American auto business in any other way that to GET OUT OF THE WAY in the ways that matter to the auto industry.

    BUT!, unlike pure free market thinkers, he will do it with certain limits, encouraging energy efficient technology, rather than trying to tow the line of the oil energy moguls. I know it is Libertarian and Free Market thinking that the market will find its own course to this eventually, but do you really see that happening in today’s societies? No, the Government will have to clear that path itself and will have to hold certain standards for the industry in this day and age.

    I think it is a great sign and a good promise… to help elevate all of America’s suffering markets by encouraging a new age of innovation and getting out of their way!

    Seriously, what other U.S. candidate is even going to be politically viable enough to even have a SHOT at a more market friendly U.S. Economy than Romney? Because it certainly will not be Ron Paul, no matter how much you wish and whine for a “Libertarian”, and I do not think Fred Thompson has the steam in him to make it either.

    It will probably be Romney… or the Democrats. Let us wait and watch.

    You can kick my ass for writing this now…

  • You can kick my ass for writing this now…

    Why? Just making an argument for old style Keynesian economics may get you dissected by someone who likes kicking balls into open goals… but that will hardly you banned!

    Just curious though… you seem to think Romney is something other than a political hack who does not give a damn about economics and in fact only acts based on whatever political position will bring advantage to himself. Is that based on just on what he says during a presidential campaign or it is also based on what he did with taxes and regulations thus far in his political career?

  • Alice

    Andrew Roocroft wrote:

    A letter of marque and reprisal is designed to authorise a private contractor, upon the President’s request, to capture the specific people responsible for a specific crime when they are outside of the United States and not affiliated to a government.

    You write lots, Mr. R — but you don’t seem to have thought too deeply about what you propose. It is simply illogical. You get your knickers in a twist over minor indignities suffered by known terrorists who are not entitled to the legal protections given to law-abiding citizens. Yet your proposed solution would (in terms of legal rights) make things much worse.

    Let’s assume that authorities in Iran issue a Letter of Marque against one Andrew Roocroft, who is alleged to have made insulting remarks about the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

    Some Iranian contractors track down an Andrew Roocroft (yourself), who immediately tells them it is a misunderstanding — you are indeed Andrew Roocroft, but you are not the Andrew Roocroft they seek; you have never said anything demeaning about the Prophet (PBUH).

    So the people with the Letter of Marque do the logical thing — they kill you, cut off your head, and take it back to Iran to claim their reward. Much safer than taking you back alive, & waiting years for the Iranian courts to rule on your guilt or innocence.

    Seems to me like Andrew Roocroft got no “due process” under his Letter of Marque system of licensed criminality.

  • Midwesterner

    He is suggesting we that instead of using the US military who are under a sworn oath to uphold the US constitution, we go with Blackwater operatives.

  • REN

    Perry,

    Romney has really only been a politician for a short period of time, since 2002, despite his run at Kennedy’s Senate seat in ’94. He did not run for another office until running for Governor in 2002. I do not doubt that he is actually much more liberal minded, socially speaking, than he currently lets on, but he chose to try an appeal to the social conservatives. I do not like that he did that, but, beyond his mixed messages on “social progress”, I do think that Romney is one of the more experienced and solid candidates in terms of fiscal responsibility.

    Really, I think Romney is too focused on sending the “right” message to win over the “conservative” electorate, but I do think he knows what he is doing where the economy is concerned. I believe this because of his history as a businessman, especially as a venture capitalist. Unfortunately, as a candidate, he has not released a full comprehensive financial plan, but that is not worrying me at this point in the race.

    What has Romney done as Governor of Massachusetts that worries you so much? Or, what did he do while he was helping to restructure the Olympics before the 2002 Games? So far, Romney seems to be very good at meeting the financial goals that he sets out to meet, whether running a business or working in Government.

    Considering the other candidates’ ability to win the nomination, I simply do not think Ron Paul or Fred Thompson have a good enough chance to win. I would be okay with Giuliani winning the Republican nomination, and he is a lot more conservative on money matters, but I still prefer Romney for his business background. McCain might as well be a moderate Democrat and I don’t view his record in the Senate favorably. Huckabee is completely out of the picture for me, as he is the most likely candidate to actually raise taxes and encourage excessive spending on social welfare programs.

    I think the nominees for the Republicans will quickly come down to being only Giuliani (if his Florida, campaign plan works), McCain, Romney, and maybe Huckabee (I hope not). And of these four, I am only interested in Romney and Giuliani because they seem to be the most sound thinkers on the economy.

    How should it be Perry? If Thompson and Paul are out, who is next in line? Or do you really think that either of them have a good chance?

  • Crikey! It’s the ghost of Euan Gray (in terms of length, not content).

    Where is Euan these days?

  • Paul Marks

    REN

    Being a good businessman does not indicate anything about the political opinions someone.

    Sadly many very rich people want a much bigger government both in terms of size (government spending and taxation) and scope (regulations).

    Business and government are different things.

  • Paul Marks

    Andrew Roocroft.

    You believe that wars can be won with courts and other such. With captured enemy fighters (even ones captured out of uniform) being treated as if they were perps picked up by the local police department.

    It would be a better world if you were correct – but you are not.

    As for the K.K.K.

    I was not aware that it was a world wide movement backed by various governments.

  • Paul Marks

    “Mitt” Romney:

    First he has no chance whatever of being elected President of the United States of America.

    He is a rich kid, yes so is George Bush is as well – but George Bush gives a good imitation of looking and sounding like an ordinary Texan, Mitt Romney looks and sounds like what he is.

    Americans will accept a Democrat who was born rich – they have more of a problem with a Republican who was born rich.

    Military serice can help, but Mitt Romney did not serve – not even in the National Guard. He was too busy knocking on doors trying to convince people to be Mormons (no I am not making that up).

    Also former Governor Romney’s record is poor – not just being Governor “Fee-Fee”, but the universal health care plan (ever more costs and fines in the years ahead) and the silly political stunts – like ordering the State Police to get tough with illegal immigrants IN HIS LAST FEW WEEKS AS GOVERNOR (i.e. it was just a stunt that he thought would play well in the comming campaign to be President).

    He is also Mr Flip-Flop.

    He changes his position on abortion, “gun control” and everything else in order to impress the person he is talking to.

    If, by some Act of God, he found himself President he would go along with elite (i.e. “liberal” opinion).

    As for his claims that more government spending (and his own management skills in Washington D.C.) would restore the auto industry in Michigan, this is utterly absurd.

  • Gabriel

    Did you even read it? Firstly, I am 100% certain, even though you used quotation marks, that I didn’t use the word “legalize” – had I done, I would – have spelt it correctly.

    Lol, self-owned. Though both spellings are acceptable, using an ‘s’ is considered extremely declassé.

  • REN

    Paul: “Being a good businessman does not indicate anything about the political opinions someone.

    “Sadly many very rich people want a much bigger government both in terms of size (government spending and taxation) and scope (regulations).”

    I disagree. Being wealthy and a businessman, you know better than anyone what irresponsible tax laws do to individuals, companies, and to the economy. He was a venture capitalist, not an auto manufacturer. Is it somehow better if he is a rich Marxist? That’s closer to what you are saying with this second post, even if essentially true in the minds of the middle-low to lower class voters.

  • I disagree. Being wealthy and a businessman, you know better than anyone what irresponsible tax laws do to individuals, companies, and to the economy.

    Yes, but so what? That just means like so many businessmen/politicians, he knows how to game the system and thereby profit personally (either monetarily or by ‘buying’ votes) from irresponsible tax laws and regulations. I am of the view quite a lot of politicians and businessmen know full well what the broader consequences of state actions are and support them anyway, which means they are not misguided, they are actually evil.

    He was a venture capitalist, not an auto manufacturer.

    So?

  • Huckabee rivals Romney for flopping and pandering and he’s been getting votes for that :(

  • REN

    “So what?” He knows how to “game” the system. And another “So?” I know you are capable of more than this Perry.

    In short, Romney is a venture capitalist who’s sole business is making other businesses work, and knows the kind of environment where this is made more possible. Romney has no reason to do what you are suggesting Perry, creating “irresponsible tax laws and regulations” as it would ruin his personal business, ruining all the businesses he rehabilitates.

  • REN, I’m a ‘recovering’ (i.e former) investment banker. My company loved it when they invested in some massively regulated business because they knew it tended to limit competition (less chance of ‘surprise’ market entrants).

    I think you have a rather optimistic view of how people in the financial world actually think. Given Romney’s history of pandering, I would be amazed if he was not like 85% of all the other venture capitalists I have known: they do not care about regulations, only that the company management took them into account they they drew up their business plan. Venture capitalists generally know jack shit about economics and would not know a Laffer Curve from a Turbocharger (its not practical enough). All they care about how a management team navigates the system.

  • kentuckyliz

    Michiganders are panicking in a sucky economy, high unemployment, and a deflating housing market. They are laid off, with no new job to go to, and getting foreclosure notices on their homes on which they owe more than it’s worth.

    Of course they’ll vote for any whore who comes along promising corporate welfare to give them their high-paid dreamy jobs back….put it back the way it was, in the good old days!

    Mitt is a whore.

    “Public-private partnerships” makes me want to retch.

    Does he think the automotive industry is stupid, doesn’t know what its problems are, and gummint is inherently wiser and can fix it?

    Barf!!!

  • kentuckyliz

    And you’re right, all the auto industry in the US (domestic or foreign automakers) are in the South in open shop, right to work states.

    That MI union labor priced itself out of the market.

    Ah well, the weather is nicer down South, they are welcome to follow the jobs down here.

  • james of england

    Paul Marks,
    Although he did increase fees somewhat, ($250 million odd raised), the increase was drowned in the fiscal conservatism that led to a $3 billion deficit reduction. I don’t know whether you prefer deficit reductions to tax cuts, but they’re hardly the mark of a statist.

    He changes his mind on two issues, one with a pretty powerful story, the other being one that appears to me to have been simply unimportant to him, and that leads you to think that he’s governed by liberal opinion?

    He was loathed by the Globe, his local newspaper, to a degree almost unparalleled for a US governor, largely because he was never a liberal.

    The US, unlike the UK, has a separation of powers, which forces a little more negotiation with the legislature, which was heavily Democratic, but he worked hard to promote the market.

    Before attacking him, don’t just look at his results, look at how he got there, the degree to which he was willing to take unpopular, controversial decisions, and so on. The Olympics is another great story of his willingness to fire people and roll back government, while getting better success out of it.

    Lastly, the belief that a more efficient free market, with less government intervention, can bring jobs to Michigan is far from absurd. American cars are a tremendously importan export industry and battering down tariffs and taxes should help them prosper. Dramatically reducing corporations tax should, in fact, help most businesses in Michigan. The other big angle is that he would work hard to stop the environmentalists destroying the industry.

    Seriously, there’s something wrong when a politician can say that he wants to protect people from government and have libertarians attack him for it.

    Here is his website on his economic plans, the ones he was talking about in Michigan:
    http://www.mittromney.com/Issues/global-economic-competition
    http://www.mittromney.com/Issues/curbing-federal-spending

    Go on, call this platform of deregulation and tax cuts statist. I’m sure a true libertarian would be for… no, I’ll wait for someone to tell me.

  • James of england

    Perry, part of the point of his being a wide ranging (and incredibly successful) venture capitalist, is that if you look at the companies he was involved with, such as Staples, you can see that they have been successful partly because they have been impressively responsive to feedback and, well, dynamic.

    It’s the same with the Olympics. Midwesterner can baldly assert that Thompson is a dynamist and Mitt not, but the facts simply don’t support that position. Now, it appears that Midwesterner is willfully ignorant of that (I”m not interested in… appears frequently), and Mitt’s tenure as governor gave him less scope for that sort of free market utilising creativity, outside of healthcare.

    It’s also worth noting that the Harvard MBA/JD program from which he graduated cum laude included economics. I don’t know his specific scores in individual classes, but accusing him of not being interested in economics seems unfair.

  • REN

    Perry: “My company loved it when they invested in some massively regulated business because they knew it tended to limit competition (less chance of ‘surprise’ market entrants).”

    This is about the only fair comment I’ve heard on the point and why I don’t pay much attention to Bill Gates.

    And thanks for the comments James. From what we keep seeing here, you’d think these guys don’t realize how much worse McCain, Hillary, or Obama would be. But, I know that’s not the point, and not what they are saying… but still, what are the alternatives? Ron Paul? Wake up, it is not going to happen.